Tsar Union line-up!

Ukrainian and Russian ambassadors go head to head at the Union.

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In May, representatives for both Russia and Ukraine will take to the Union stage, in two consecutive events.

This controversial decision comes at a tense time for both countries. It follows the Russian annexation of Crimea and the wave of pro-Russian demonstrations currently sweeping across the Eastern frontiers of Ukraine.

In Soviet Russia, Union chooses you

On the 19th of May, Volodymr Khandogiy, the UK’s Ukrainian Ambassador, will attend the event to talk about the escalating crisis and what it could mean for Eastern Europe.

The following day, Russian Ambassador Alexander Kramarenko, will be given a platform to discuss Russia’s foreign policy.

"Mr Khandogiy, we've got your back"

“Mr Khandogiy, we’ve got your back”
William Hague recently pledged to support Ukraine

Oliver Mosley, the Union’s press officer, outlined the importance of the talks: “The Union is hosting both the Russian and Ukrainian ambassador to give members a chance to hear both sides of an increasingly volatile debate.

“We are hosting them back to back to give our members the chance to act as the mediator between the two sides, bringing what they hear from engaging with the Ukrainian Ambassador to the feet of the Russian Ambassador the following day.”

Speaking to The Tab, Russian student Vica Germanova said, “It’s good that the ambassadors are coming because media interest has been waning recently and people are starting not to care about the crisis.”

“But we can’t take their words at face value because neither Russia nor Ukraine are the good guys – whatever they say is going to be carefully designed precisely to achieve their government’s aims with regards to oil or politics.

“If either side claims to ‘want to do what’s right for the people’ – that’s bullshit. People need to listen to them with this in mind.”


Will there be diplomatic fireworks at the Union?

Ukrainian student and Euromaidan activist, Oleg Naumenko, was also skeptical: “The event is likely to be another attempt to promote Russia’s stance rather than a productive discussion.

“It is a pleasure to see how representatives of the authoritarian revisionist state of Russia are following the footsteps of the ultra-right Marine Le Pen, coming to Cambridge in order to boost their image.

“I sincerely hope that the listeners will put the ambassadors statements under scrutiny just like they did during the visit of Ms. Le Pen.”

First year Moldovan student, Profir Petru Pârtachi, said that, despite his fears for his own country, he supported the decision to invite both representatives to speak.

“I’ll be curious to ask about what both countries are doing to reach a peaceful resolution.

“Even if most people see Russia as the aggressor, I still think that the resolution depends on both.”

Meanwhile, Charlie Palmer, a third year Trinity student, saw irony in the Union’s move: “I think there’s an interesting parallel between the fairness of the Crimean referendum and the Union elections.

“I’m also looking forward to seeing whether the Russians plan to cover up their imperialism with more imperialism.”

Check back tomorrow for the rest of the Union’s line up of speakers this term.